July 15, 2024
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Setting the Record Straight on the ADL

I write as a past national chair of the Anti-Defamation League to correct the distortions in Jonathan S. Tobin’s biased descriptions of ADL’s positions (“Whatever Happened to the ADL,” July 19, 2018).

Throughout our long history, ADL has always been non-partisan. That has not changed. Our positions reflect longstanding values that have motivated us for decades. Some view our positions as partial to the left, others to the right, but in truth they are never politically driven.

Calling for strong questioning of a Supreme Court nominee is consistent with what ADL always has done. For decades, letters have been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, many signed by Abe Foxman when he was ADL’s national director, suggesting questions that should be asked of every nominee to the Court whether by a Republican or Democrat president. Regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, special scrutiny is required because he would be replacing the Court’s swing vote on several key issues and because some of his known views conflict with ADL policies formulated long before Jonathan Greenblatt became ADL’s CEO.

Tobin also chooses to ignore our continued outspokenness on anti-Semitism wherever it emerges—and no matter the source. Yes, we are deeply concerned about the significant rise of anti-Semitism, including those incidents committed by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, or members of the self-described “Alt-right” movement. We are also deeply concerned and outspoken about the anti-Semitism emanating from Louis Farrakhan and those who curry favor with him, the BDS movement and other self-professed “progressives” who refuse to recognize the Jewish people’s right to self-determination or who single out Israel for demonization and delegitimization. Regardless of the source, ADL has spoken out against anti-Semitism for more than 100 years—and we will continue to do so.

We are living in a time, unfortunately, where the center is weakening. It is tempting to call the attacks from both sides a badge of honor. It is more important, however, for all of us to realize that the critical task before us in ensuring the future of our democracy is to work tirelessly to reinforce the center in the face of polarizing rhetoric on both sides.

ADL will continue to commit ourselves tirelessly to that effort.

Sincerely,

Robert G. Sugarman
Former National Chair
Anti-Defamation League
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